Michael Steger On '90210,' 'True Blood'
As Navid Shirazi on 90210, Michael Steger is causing trouble in Beverly Hills with his millions of dollars and has a penchant for dishing dirt in the school newspaper. It's a role that comes naturally for Steger, who was born and raised in Los Angeles. His exotic looks come from his Ecuadorian, Austrian and Norwegian ancestors. Steger majored in theatre at Cal Poly Pamona college and began his acting career in commercials. He has appeared in a number of Disney Channel original productions including Hannah Montana and Corey In The House and the film, The Cheetah Girls: One World. Steger has also guest starred as a victimized male prostitute in the third season of True Blood.
In real life Steger is not someone you want to mess with — martial arts has been one of his hobbies since childhood and he is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. And though Steger greatly differs from his 90210 character in age and culture, it doesn't stop him from identifying with Navid. “I really connected with the character,” he told Uinterview exclusively. “We both have very similar backgrounds in the sense that both of our families are from overseas, but we ourselves are very Americanized.”
- Q: Where do you see your character headed this season? - Uinterview
- A: He’s really involved in his dad’s production company. He legitimizes it. He gets to the point where his uncle threatens his livelihood. It leaves him in a panic where he doesn’t know what to do. He’s having a huge issue with getting his uncle out of his life.
- Q: Is it a challenge playing someone who is so much younger than you are in real life? - Uinterview
- A: Well, I think we all are playing characters that are younger than we are. So it’s kind of a mirror reality. We’ve all been in high school. We’ve all been in these situations. There’s not too much of a challenge whatsoever.
- Q: You are playing a character of Middle Eastern descent, and you are not Middle Eastern. Is there anything you did to prepare for playing that role authentically? - Uinterview
- A: Well, I think the authentic part of the character is that he’s American raised. He was born in the States, but his parents were born in Iran. Kind of like my mother is Ecuadorian, but I’m first-generation American. I really connected with the character. We both have very similar backgrounds in the sense that both of our families are from overseas, but we ourselves are very Americanized. We have this interesting culture difference with our family versus being out in the world. Of course, I have a lot of friends who are from Iran. They told me a lot about what their culture is like. I was finding out how similar their culture is to mine.
- Q: Did you grow up watching the original 90210 series? - Uinterview
- A: No, I was too active a kid to sit down and watch TV. I caught maybe a few episodes.
- Q: How did you get into acting and how did you get onto 90210? - Uinterview
- A: I started acting in the seventh grade, and my parents had always let me go to auditions. I booked one guest starring role on a TV show called V.R. Troopers from back in the day, and my parents were like, 'Okay that’s enough. You’ve had your taste of Hollywood. Now it’s time for school.' So I did a lot of plays in junior high and high school, and as soon as I got my truck, I was able to drive myself to auditions in L.A. I didn’t get lucky until I started taking acting seriously. I went to college and did the whole five-year acting program. Then after I moved to L.A. my first big show was The Winner, which was Seth MacFarlane's first live action sitcom. I did a lot of guest starring on different TV shows. I started getting more and more work.
- Q: What was your experience like of shooting your guest spot on True Blood? - Uinterview
- A: It was especially cool, because I am a big fan of the show. I feel like they have some of the best character actors on TV, and it’s not everyday that you can be on a show that you’re a fan of. I thought that was a really cool experience.
- Q: Do you have any memories that stand out about the feeling on the set of 90210? - Uinterview
- A: Whenever there’s a lot of downtime, everybody just has a crazy good time. What can I tell you? It’s a crazy set, but we all get along really well. We are very lucky to have each other. We’ve been together since day one.
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